Your future in festivals: Does your activation stand out from the crowd?

CGA’s new syndicated report on festivals provides much-needed insight on experiential activations, the benefits of activating at festivals and the opportunities for drinks suppliers that festivals provide.
Learn more about this report

It is no secret within the industry that the popularity of third space events has soared in recent years, with a 9% growth in consumer spending in the entertainment sector and just over a third of GB consumers attending at least one third space event in the last six months. Although consumers’ increasing thirst for these events is apparent, some suppliers are at a loss as to how best meet consumer demands and define what a memorable third space actually looks like. This is certainly the case when it comes to festival activations, with concerns around competition and achieving a quantifiable return on investment causing suppliers to be reluctant in investing.

However, with 16% of GB having attended one of the top festivals within the last three years and over a third considering visiting one of the top UK festivals, failure to take advantage of what these events offer could lead drinks suppliers to miss out on key opportunities for growth.

CGA’s new syndicated report, Your Future in Festivals: How to stand out from the crowd provides much needed insight for both those looking to dip a toe in the water of activations and sponsorship and those already established in the field, shedding light on what festivalgoers are looking for from suppliers in relation to drinks range and experiential activations, as well as the potential benefits of activating at festivals and the plethora of opportunities for drinks suppliers that festivals provide. Indeed, with CGA research highlighting an estimated size of prize of £114m in alcohol sales alone, the festival market offers lucrative prospects for those who have the correct strategy in place to exploit this.

Whilst the prevalence of mainstream brands and lager and cider has long been associated with festivals, research from the latest report suggests that festivalgoers are looking for value for money, not just cheap drinks. A penchant for quality from festivalgoers sees 65% of respondents being likely to upgrade their drinks, with this consumer group over-indexing for drinking premium spirits alone. This suggests an appetite for more premium brands that is not being fulfilled by the current drinks offering. Those festivals rated most highly for quality of drinks provide consumers with a unique and theatrical experience that is generally more strongly associated with premium outlets than their commercial counterparts. The report also highlights the discrepancy between what festivalgoers are drinking out of home vs. at festivals, highlighting potential opportunities for categories outside of core lager and cider brands.

Although not opposed to the idea of brand sponsorship at festivals, the report highlights the opportunity for drinks suppliers to improve perceptions through the provision of non-music events and NPD trials. A desire to experiment and a more relaxed attitude towards budget makes festivals the perfect platform to trial new drinks flavours and brands. Over half of festivalgoers have tried a new drink at festivals – with spirits consumers being particularly open to experimentation. With four in 10 festivalgoers also citing the provision of non-music events as important in their decision of which festivals to attend, and atmosphere being the biggest driver of satisfaction at festivals, providing an activation that creates a “buzz” is paramount in ensuring drinks brands stand out from the crowd. Award-winning activations are ones that exceed both experiential and ethical expectations, incorporating a carefully tailored activation strategy. The incorporation of this strategy can pay dividends, not only in terms of brand affinity but also in consumers’ propensity to repurchase in the future.

The report, Your Future in Festivals, highlights the value of marketing at festivals with a view to shaping a successful festival strategy, driving consumer engagement and building brand equity. To purchase a copy of the report visit here or email

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